A tough beginning
Born and brought up in Jamnagar in Gujarat, Chirag Porecha used to support his family by doing odd jobs after attending school. Worried that he could drop out of school, his family insisted that he give up work.
He got into distribution of LIC on the advice of a family member. At the age of 18, he used to ride his bicycle to sell LIC policies to every household in his locality. Recalling his initial days of struggle, Chirag says, “I entered this profession by chance. It was difficult to meet ends meet and I was the only earning member in the family.”
However, his effort didn’t yield any result as he only faced rejections. In fact, Chirag could not sell a single policy for years. Chirag says that his late father’s wisdom of chasing excellence and being determined helped him sail through tough times. Despite rejections, Chirag continued his effort. “It became a daily routine to face 7-8 rejections,” recalls Chirag.
In the meantime, he completed his graduation.
Chirag realized that the people he was approaching did not have the capacity to invest. So, he decided to focus on investors who had the potential to give him business. He picked up the telephone directory and started calling jewelers, wholesalers and builders. Since no one was ready to buy a policy through him, he used to offer after sales service to people who held orphan LIC policies. (Orphan policies are those which are abandoned by drop-out insurance agents.) This is how he got his first HNI client. The client agreed to buy a policy through him as he was impressed by Chirag’s dedication towards his profession.
Since then there has been no looking back. To hone his marketing skills, he pursued MBA. While studying MBA, he got to know about ISO certification. “I didn’t come across any IFA who had this certificate for his business,” says Chirag.
Since his focus has been on HNIs, he thought this certification would help him showcase his professionalism. After completing his MBA, he gave a formal shape to his practice by floating his company ‘Lifeplus’ in 2001 and got the ISO 9001 certification in 2002. The certification proved to be catalyst as his clientele grew rapidly.
Chirag forayed in mutual funds in 2007 to expand his offerings by tying up with a national distributor. Once he got a grip of MF business, he started doing business by empaneling with AMCs directly. Chirag has been an advocate of SIP and currently manages Rs. 1 crore SIP book across 900 clients. Altogether, he manages assets under advisory (AUA) of Rs. 140 crore of which 80% is in equity funds.
Chirag says that having a dream and the determination to achieve it has helped him succeed. “The desire to achieve something is very important. Had I given up in my initial years I wouldn’t have reached so far”, he says. Besides, he believes that one has to constantly gain knowledge and acquire new skills. In addition to MBA, he holds certifications like Certified Personal Financial Advisor (CPFA) and Chartered Financial Goal Planner (CFGP). To be on top of things, he dedicates two hours to reading no matter how hectic his schedule is.
Currently, he operates from his 2000 sq. ft. in Jamnagar with a staff of seven. He aims to grow his MF AUA to Rs. 500 crore by 2020. He says that referrals would help him achieve this target. “If each of my client gives me four references, I would be able to convert a minimum of 1 prospect,” he says.
From a humble beginning on his bicycle, Chirag today drives a Mercedes.